Archive for vibration

Old Quarry Conversion

Posted in Conceptual Art, Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2012 by javedbabar

Her CEO yelled, “Come!”

Why does she always do that? thought Sophie. Is it too much effort to say the word in? Or even to add a please at the end? I guess busy people need to use fewer words. Superiors must save their time and energy – for what though, so inferiors can expend theirs instead?

“Good morning,” said Sophie. “I haven’t seen you for a while. You look well.” Why shouldn’t she look well, she thought, she has a full time servant at home. That’s what she calls him – servant. How can she afford him? Lucerne Village Hall doesn’t pay that well.

“Thank you, Sophie. I feel that you are underworked. Would you agree? You would? Good. Obviously, Crisis Manager is a vital role, but we don’t have a crisis every day – unless you count my management style.”

This was a joke and Sophie was meant to laugh, wasn’t she? She wasn’t sure though. The CEO practiced GBH: Guidance By Hysterics. She was a terrible person to work for.

“We need a status report on the old quarry. I am allocating a month to do it. Can you have it complete by then?”

The bauxite quarry had been in operation for almost a century, providing material for civic buildings and fine homes. It had a history of accidents, pollution, corruption, industrial action and financial trouble. The Authority had kept the quarry open to maintain local jobs, but admitted eventually that it was cheaper and easier to import finished rock, and shut it four years ago.

Sophie went with Albert, the old quarry’s last manager, to take a look. She had only been in the village a year, and never seen the quarry open. Once the rusty locks were oiled, Albert pulled the overgrown iron gates open.

They walked past mounds of broken white rock and rusting machinery, before seeing a tall, rectangular gash in the hillside. As Sophie drew closer, she realized that the gash was a hundred feet high.

Sophie was drawn to this void; her feet led themselves; it was like walking towards the church when she was a child, to her grandma’s for lunch, and to a friend’s birthday party. It was like walking everywhere at once.

The gash had not been cut cleanly. Around it were probings and narrowings, where blasters, pickaxes and drills had worked, homing in on the centre, the cave, the bony canal extending deep into Mother Earth. It seemed a source of hidden power.

Albert gave her a hard hat and said, “Watch your step and your head. I come here once a year to take a look, but otherwise it is empty and falling apart. So just you…”

Sophie smelled figs and apples. She had a vision of the gash filled with everything in the world. It was overflowing with people pouring out. Life was being celebrated here by every kind of art. There were huge abstract paintings dripping blue and gold. Violin solos soaring. Scores of white-masked dancers. Poets on rock niches lauding the dark. Stories told of dragons and hidden treasures. Dramas of tortured hearts. Giant sculpted women. Bar Mitzvahs. Birthday parties. Holy mass.

The touch of God.

The breath of God.

The kiss of God.

Sacred vibrations.

Albert stared into her eyes. “Are you okay?” he said, looking crazed. Sophie had fainted and her heart stopped. Thank God he was trained in first aid; his skills were rusty but he had administered the Kiss of Life and CPR.

Sophie was used to managing other peoples’ crises. Now she must make sense of her own.


After Work Beers

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2012 by javedbabar

The amateur entrepreneur set up what looked like a record player. Younger members of the Devils’ Den audience had only ever seen these at their grandmas’ houses. They seemed cumbersome objects.

“Are you ready to go?” said the event’s host, Collette Vapinski. She had been selected by the New Ideas Show’s producers for her high public profile. She was famous for being famous.

“I’m almost there,” said the presenter. “Just two more minutes.”

“I bet you say that to all the girls!” said Collette. Her comment drew shrieks from the girls in the audience. The presenter continued fiddling for a full five minutes, and then indicated he was set.

Collette said, “Okay, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our sixth and final amateur entrepreneur waiting to impress our panel of expert investors. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your idea.”

He was confident for a guy barely in his twenties. He said, “Hello, I’m Matthew and I’d like to tell you about my Virtual Vibration technology.” This caused some girls to snigger, and the speaker stopped and said, “Calm down girls, I’m only just getting started.”

Maybe he wasn’t as innocent as he appeared. He indicated the apparatus and said, “This is my equipment. Impressive isn’t it, girls? It may look like an ordinary phonograph to you but…”

Collette looked at the panel and said, “Is that what it’s called?” Low tech pioneer Amisha Jordan, ex-banker Arthur Choo, and social media activist Juno Osh, all nodded.

Matthew continued, “In one sense it is, but with an important difference. Allow me to illustrate.” People craned their necks to see what he was doing, but his actions were hidden by a raised cover. It seemed that he had set a record spinning and then placed a needle upon it. There was a very rough crackling, and panel members put their hands to their ears. A recorded conversation was relayed; two male voices with Greek or Arabian accents.

The first voice said, “How’s it going over there?”

The second said, “Not bad, pal. I need to do another coat. I’m not sure this one will dry in time though.”

“Ah, just do it tomorrow morning.”

“The painters are coming in tomorrow. It needs to be done tonight.”

“Okay, pal. I’ll have a warm beer waiting for you when you’re done.”

The rough crackling returned and put an end to the conversation.

Arthur said, “Is it immigrants working in Britain?”

Juno said, “Music would have been much better. Something like that will never go viral.”

Amisha said, “Well done for portraying ordinary people doing honest work, not empty celebrities.” Without meaning to, she looked across the room at Collette.

Matthew removed the gramophone cover to reveal a pot spinning, being brushed by a slim blue laser beam. “These are voices recorded in wet clay, ten thousand years ago in Egypt, picked up by a laser needle and processed through a digital translator. The first guy was a potter. His words were encoded on the pot by his paintbrush wobbling as he talked. I must be honest though; the plasterer’s words were recorded separately from scratches in the plaster, and mixed in later. What do you think of my Virtual Vibration technology?”

Nothing recordable was said for a while, and then there was an eruption that would have produced very rough crackling.

Sweet Spot

Posted in Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by javedbabar

People in Lucerne were excited. It was The Place’s official opening night. The renovated car park at the centre of their village was already in use, but tonight it would be baptised by village notables and elders, an important ritual in any community, and more so with controversial developments.

Sophie set up the main shot. HOT TV’s coverage tonight was devoted to the opening ceremony, rather than yet another film with dancing girls in hot pants and bra tops showing the joys of living in Lucerne. Yet the girls were all here. There was Jeannie, founder of the monthly People’s Kitchen, where spare food was cooked into delicious meals for every needy member of the community. There were Alli and Sami, and Donna too.

Among the crowd Sophie saw Danny, to whom she’d drawn closer over the past few weeks. Was he the right one, she wondered? Or maybe, as her British mother would say, he was a right one. This meant something else entirely.

She really liked The Place’s central element, a water feature with dancing jets, and a plinth for a statue, which was rotatable and retractable, meaning it could also be used as a small stage. There must be several statues stored in the vault below. In between the time The Place was completed and its official opening ceremony, Sophie had seen statues of Lucerne’s claimed founders St Lucy (favoured by Anglo-Saxon women), Cernunnos (favoured by Anglo-Saxon men), and White Bear (favoured by natives, and who most likely did found the village). Tonight the plinth remained empty, for it was in use as a stage.

Sophie noticed that the acoustics were strange here. The ceremony was starting, and it was too late to make adjustments. She should have realized before.

The famous holy man Guru Baba, who had made Lucerne his home, was too weak or too tired to come here personally, so sent a video message instead. “The centre of every place is sacred,” he said, dressed in saffron turban and sarong, and white string vest. “It represents the heart of things. The place from which everything emerges, and around which all revolves…” The rest of his words were unclear. He continued speaking for five minutes, but the words seemed to stop dead, as if they were killed in his mouth. Maybe it was just her headphones. Sophie removed them, but nothing changed.

Next was the new age mystic Ozwald Malchizedek, also known as OM, who mounted the plinth in person, in full golden robes. He was popular with those who didn’t like the discipline of Guru Baba’s methods. OM operated by the Principle of Pleasure (POP), whose objective was to do whatever you liked. “Good people of Lucerne,” he said. “I am pleased to be here with you on this historic occasion. This village was created by historic accident, by confluence of railways and powerlines, roads and rivers. Till now it didn’t have a real centre. Today we celebrate this Place.” The delivery of his words was just right. There was a – maybe – one second reverberation, adding richness and power. Sophie wondered what he was doing that Guru Baba wasn’t.

He spoke for five minutes before Jeannie was invited to the stage. She talked about the People’s Kitchen, the monthly dinner for everyone, cooked by volunteers with donated ingredients (the butcher gave hamburgers, the grocer gave salad, the baker gave buns and sometimes cakes); it assisted those in need and cultivated community. Then Jeannie and the other HOT TV girls shook their female assets; which they knew was sure to get good coverage. Sophie noticed the reverberation period had lengthened to over two seconds. Jeannie’s words all ran into each other, but the music sounded great.

The Global Grandmothers mounted the stage and sang and danced together. It was a mix of throat-singing, choral, beatbox, and chanting, with a backing track of rousing trance. Their voices soared individually and together. They found the Place’s sweets spot, its Point of Control, and their magical voices entranced the crowd.

Nobody noticed when it became dark and when it became light again. The grandmothers had harnessed the holy powers of the earth. All were in a daze. As the sun rose to the bless The Place, Sophie returned to full awareness. She had been awake but not aware; a slave to higher vibrations. She saw her camera had been filming for twelve hours – from 6am to 6pm – and tried to recall all that had happened this night. She felt there was truth in Guru Baba’s words about a centre representing the heart of things, from which everything emerged, and around which all revolved.


Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , on January 17, 2012 by javedbabar

Knock-knock! Dana ignored it. Knock-knock! She ignored it again.

“Honey, may I come in?” said Tony.

Dana withdrew her mind from Supersoul. The divine colour of water-filled clouds eased into that of pale blue wall. It wasn’t so different – more a question of quality than hue. “Yes, honey,” she said slowly. “Come in.”

“Hey Firecracker” – he’d called her that since she’d gone from blonde to redhead – “I know you are doing yoga, but I thought you’d like to see this.” His lips quivered when he was thrilled about something. She wanted to kiss him right now.

Tony brought over his laptop, hesitantly. “Honey, I need to focus,” she said smiling broadly. “That’s why I could do with a distraction. Go ahead.”

“Are you sitting comfortably?” he said. His lips quivered again.

“Only enough to merge with the Supersoul. I guess that’s pretty comfy.”

“I knew I had it somewhere. Good job I didn’t empty my recycle bin. It was hiding there. Ready?”

“What is it?”

“It’s a historic moment captured on video.”

“Hey, I told you to get rid of that video! You never know where it might end up. Do you really want to see your wife on the internet doing that?” She felt her brow furrow. Sudden tension. Just what she needed to avoid today.

“No, not that!” said Tony, waving his arms as if flapping the idea away. “I got rid of that, honest! Though it was a minor classic of Sea-To-Sky sensuality….”


“Just kidding you. Look…” he clicked. The Transparent Temple – their nickname for the fancy community centre – appeared, surrounded by crowds. It was last year’s Canada Day. The camera zoomed towards the first floor balcony, showing a dozen people in smart black dress. Amongst them was Firecracker holding her cello. The small orchestra sat down, tuned up, and began playing. It was Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, reworked as a dance tune. It started off gently – flowing like caresses – and then burst with beats – like your brain was your heart. The crowd went crazy, threw their arms in the air. It was classical music renewed. It felt great to move people so strongly and deeply; more than she’d ever done before.

And that was the day when she’d heard the sounds. At first she thought it was feedback harmonics, but listened more closely, and was confused. She wasn’t playing those notes, they were way too deep. Long, long frequencies, like hundred metre strings being bowed. And a big boom somewhere, and mighty clangs, and long whistles like trains. She wondered whether she was going a bit crazy. But others told her that they’d heard the sounds too. The mysterious vibrations resonated with her vision of Supersoul. They had sparked her idea; the one that had brought her here today. She was tuning herself for the biggest day of her life.

“Do you remember what the District said when you suggested it?” said Tony. “And BC Hydro? And the lawyers?” She smiled completely. He liked that red lipstick, setting off her hair. “I’m so proud of you, honey. Tonight will be unforgettable.”

It was only when CBC got involved that things had started moving. Initially she wasn’t keen on the name “Orchextra”, but after a while got used to it.

An hour later, Dana left the house. Cranes and scaffolds were set up along the Meadows Road. They were concentrated at the end of the power lines near Camel Mountain. This was Dana’s place – pole position. The production crew fussed over her. They adjusted her hair, her makeup, and her dress, and then clipped on a microphone and earpiece. Two hours later, she was ready to start.

At 11.30am they did final checks on the power lines. A micro-current ran through them. They put her in a zoom boom and raised her up thirty feet. She was ready. At exactly midday, she put her bow to the neutral wire. From down the Valley she heard the sounds of people striking big boulders, which sang out like clear bells. From up the Valley, others beating the trunks of huge cedars, which hurt like vast drums. Everywhere in the Valley, people used compressors to push air through their chimneys, and blew into car exhaust pipes. A range of shrill, strong whistles filled the air, everywhere. It was time.

The front of her cello was spruce, the sides maple, the bridge pine, the bass bar willow, the sound post fir, the purfling ebony and abalone; all affixed by hide glue. Many fine craftsmen had built that instrument. But her instrument today was an insulated copper cable. Her bow was of brazilwood, stretched with horsehair. Dana drew her bow across the wire, which stretched from here to the Village, an instrument of thirty kilometres, ready for her touch. She was the lead player, with cellists raised up every kilometre to strengthen her sound. It would meet the sounds coming from elsewhere in the Valley to create a mighty circuit of sonance.

Today was September 22nd, 2012, fall equinox. This was the great practice.

The great performance would be on December 21st, 2012: the winter solstice. The “X” in Orchextra came via Ancient Arabic, Old Spanish, and Mathematics. It was used by Malcolm X, X-Rays, Generation X, and the Illiterate to sign their names. In all these cases it represented the same thing: an unknown quantity. On this night, ancient and modern, natural and cultural, vibrations would fuse together. This would be the sound – a last brave howl, as the planet Nibiru approached earth, its collision now confirmed – of the end of the world. What the future held for humanity after this was unknown.

Dark Harp

Posted in Lucerne Village, Unknown with tags , , , , on January 8, 2012 by javedbabar

The crowd at the Great Hall funked and grooved. They shook their bootys and whirled round and around. They were more dervishes than dancers, their souls lost in sound.

The Harpees didn’t play here too often. Ever since they won the World Fusion Championships, they were always touring. But this was their home town, and they didn’t forget their own. They were a twelve piece band with two basses, two sitars, bongo drums, tablas, two trumpets, keyboardist, harmonium, violinist, and lead harpist. Each instrument played its part beautifully, but the harp was what made their band really special. The vibrations of its strings climbed high, touching people’s hearts and dreams. And it was a unique instrument. While other instruments gave feedback – muddying the music – the harp never did. It produced only pure sound.

Rufus gave a final flourish, and set all of its strings vibrating. He dropped his head sharply to end the number, and the rest of the band followed his lead. There was huge cheering and applause. The band thanked their loyal fans who had set them on the road to stardom, and called it a night.

Before Rufus had even stopped sweating, the manager of Resonance – the recently completed apartment block in the centre of town – came to bug him. He wanted The Harpees to endorse his building, continuing its musical advertising campaign. This had included taglines like “Sounds good!”, “In tune with you!”, and “Live in harmony!” Rufus said he didn’t have time right now.

No matter how many times you’ve done it before, teardown is always a messy business. There’s always mounds of boxes, jumbles of plugs, and a jungle of wires. The building’s steps made it even more work than usual humping the gear. Finally everything was loaded, and Rufus drove home. They had to hit the road tomorrow, so he left his gear in the truck. He didn’t sleep well that night, which was unusual. He usually soared heavenward.

The next morning was the worst of his life. He checked and rechecked but the harp was gone. Had he misplaced it, he wondered? Or had someone taken it in error? After all, instrument cases were all dark and bulky; they could easily be confused. Yet he recalled placing it into the truck carefully. He really didn’t want to consider it, but the only real possibility was that someone had stolen it!

Rufus held his head in his hands and snarled like a dog. He was so angry, he could not think. He could only feel colours.

When his Grandpa gave him the harp, he’d said, “It’s been in the family for centuries, and I have been its guardian for fifty years. It’s now your turn, Rufus. But don’t lock it away somewhere. It is alive I tell you! Play it! Play it! Play it for the world!”

At first it had been hard to know what to do. It wasn’t the coolest instrument, or the easiest to master. Dull black wood with a hundred strings. But Rufus persevered and became proficient. He started out as a street-musician, then joined a chamber orchestra, and later a local experimental band. He played so well that he displaced the lead guitarist, and became “lead harpist”. Eventually they changed their name from The Spudees to The Harpees, and the stage was set.

“All instruments have souls, and they respond to others,” his Grandpa had said. “But this harp has seen too much in its lifetime. It braved two wars. Now it makes its own music, that is all, and doesn’t echo the sounds of other instruments. It is like a great person, who is sure of himself but wary of the crowd. And because he stands apart bravely, he attracts others.”

Rufus hadn’t known what to make of that, but the musical benefits were clear. There was no feedback, and thus clarity and force in performance. Its sound would rise above all others.

But now the harp was gone. He had lost it! Rufus snarled again. His hearing was so keen that he could detect the quiver of a nearby string. But he knew that even if he drove around the Village, house by house, playing other instruments, the harp would never answer back. It gave no feedback. Its special quality was now its loss.

Of course they cancelled the rest of the tour. Rufus stayed at home. He was mainly quiet, but sometimes found himself snarling.

That night there were strange occurrences in the Village. Dogs barked non-stop, and the glass in shop windows kept trembling. Reflections distorted and shook.

The next night everyones’ car alarms went off everywhere, and many streetlights shattered. Everybody in the coffee shop was talking about these strange events. Had there been a series of small earthquakes? Or maybe some kind of electrical-field reversal?

Only Rufus knew. The harp had broken its long silence. It was responding to his call.

The third night, the Village fire-trucks’ lights and sirens came on. Also those of the ambulances, and the police cruisers. The centre of town was like a fairground. Emergency personnel all turned out in response to the sirens, and it’s a good job they did.

The Resonance building crumbled into dust. It wobbled initially, and then fell flat. Fortunately the manager had noticed some cracks that evening, and evacuated the buildings’ few occupants before he disappeared. No one was hurt.

Some days later, among the rubble of Resonance, was found a large black instrument case. Inside was a dark harp.